Monday, November 27, 2000

Week of 11/27/2000

Target: Sex In Society - Part 4
Sex and Kids

- by David Matthews 2

Not too long ago, both the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and USA Today ran articles that showed today’s kids in a light that would make any parent cringe.

USA Today talked about a report due this December that showed how teenagers engaged in oral sex more commonly than generations past, and how the numbers of sexually-transmitted diseases involving the mouth and throat are on the increase. The report showed that most teenagers considered oral sex to be not as serious as actual intercourse, and in some cases the kids who engage in oral sex consider it to be more of a social advancement.

They even pulled out the old line used by such people like President Bill Clinton and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to say that oral sex wasn’t really sex. I’m sure that all of those parents who were quick to exonerate Big Bubba Spin for fooling around with Monica Lewinsky were slapping their foreheads when they heard that same line being used by their children.

The AJC article was even more chilling for parents. Instances where children as young as ten years old were engaging in prostitution, and teenagers who were getting fake identification just to dance in strip clubs. The article talked about how the men who pimp these young streetwalkers would only be charged with misdemeanors and not serve any actual jail time, and how experts feared kids lives were being harmed irrevocably because of their expose to sex at so young an age.

Now if I were some bible-thumping moralist, I would probably be railing on about how our society is heading straight to the deepest lowest bowls of Hell. I would point out that these articles are merely examples of how we’ve allowed the "evil" of sex to enter our precious society and into the minds of our children. I would rail on about how these instances are the direct result of our allowing everything from Playboy magazines to professional wrestling to even exist. I would be wanting to gather an ugly mob of upset parents, complete with torches, and burn down every nightclub, every strip club, every newsstand.

And if I were some bible-thumping moralist who was outraged by these articles, I would be storming down the halls of government and asking.. no, DEMANDING.. that our elected officials do my bidding and pass new laws that outlaw anything sexual in nature. I would want the Internet shut down, and cable television censored so the only channels people would see would be the local church broadcasts. I would treat those articles to be nothing less than a declaration of an all-out, DefCon 1, global thermonuclear societal war.

That is.. if I were some dysfunctional bible-thumping moralist with delusions of grandeur. Of course I would use these articles as justification of some crusade to punish society for their evils! What member of the dysfunctional elite wouldn’t do that? In fact, I have no doubt that was the purpose at least one of those two articles.. to get the moralists enraged and mobilized.

Fortunately for us, this commentator tends to see things a bit differently. Yes, these articles are examples, but not from our lust, but rather from our inability to handle that part of our lives.

Like any other human action and interaction, there is some element of responsibility connected to sex. And that responsibility doesn’t just involve our active participation in sex, but also with our passive participation.. from our desire to simply stick our heads in the sand and ignore sex.

Let’s get brutally honest here… sex is a part of our lives. The genie was let loose long before the Sexual Revolution, but only now are we beginning to realize that the effects extend beyond just adult actions. They extend into how our children see things as well.

The problems shown in the two newspaper articles are not the result of sex in our society, but rather from our inability to deal with it.

Some parents don’t want to realize that their kids are getting curious about sex at some point in their lives. They still think their kids are precious innocent creatures, even when their kids are the most precocious little devils. It is that ignorance that serves to harm both themselves and their children.

Are there practical solutions to the problems those two newspapers pointed out? You bet there are! But not from trying to suppress sex once again. The Victorian Age was an age of ignorance and fear. An age that made people so paranoid that they were putting covers on top of piano legs for fear that someone might be aroused by them! Resurrecting that paranoid time, as many moralists have been desperate in doing, is not only wrong, but would lead to even more problems down the road.

We need to embrace that part of our lives, to accept the fact that we ARE sexual beings, whether or not we decide to become sexually active. We need to accept the fact that sex is a part of our lives. Only then can we then decide how to deal with it.

First of all there should be no doubt that people who actively prey on children for adult gratification are the worst of the worst. Pedophilia is wrong. Period. There should be laws that prosecute and convict such people. I think even liberals would have to agree with that.

Teenagers, however, are a little more different. The words "raging hormones" may seem a bit overused, but that is precisely what is going on for these would-be adults. They are beginning to look and feel like adults, and because of that, they often try to get people to treat and even think of them as adults. Unlike children who are often tricked and forced into sex, teenagers sometimes need very little coaxing. All they sometimes need is a little makeup, and some not-so-youthful clothes.

The problem of teenagers who get fake identification just to work in strip clubs can be easily solved with the help of the people who work at those clubs. Does anyone really think that strip club owners want to get caught with some sixteen year-old girl dancing there? Of course not! The same applies to the other dancers, bouncers, and bartenders. For many of them, this is their bread and butter, not just some way to get quick mall money. If they like working at that club, they would want to make sure that the club doesn’t get shut down just because some young girl wanted to buy the latest Backstreet Boys CD.

Local communities could very easily set up an amnesty program whereby club owners and the people who work there would not be punished if they find out that someone who works there is underage so long as they notify either law enforcement or social services. Such a program would help allay the adversarial relationship that currently exists between local government and adult entertainment.

Unfortunately, it would be extremely unlikely that such an idea would ever be implemented. Doing so would mean that local governments would have to accept and work with such places, and they absolutely, positively DO NOT want to do that! That would fly in the face of everything the moralists want to do. They don’t want to work with strip clubs.. they want to shut them down! And they don’t care how they do that!

Do you think, for instance, that Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell would want to work with the very strip clubs he’s been so desperate to shut down all these years? OF COURSE NOT! Then he wouldn’t be able to go to the churches and tell all of those ministers and all of those bible-thumping moralists that he’s been doing everything in his power to shut those clubs down! So what if it means a few more underage girls manage to strut their stuff on stage? People like Mayor Campbell don’t care! All they care about is appeasing the bible-thumpers, and making themselves look good for the next election.

Since it’s become painfully obvious that those in government don’t care about the issue, those people who operate and work in strip clubs will have to care… lest they find those self-serving moralists at their front door.

As for those teenagers and oral sex… Once again, parents are finding out the hard way that the things that they excuse do come back to haunt them. I don’t care if people consider it to be foreplay, after-play, appetizer, dessert, main course, a light snack, or finger food... oral sex may not get a girl pregnant, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t get a sexually transmitted disease either.

Never mind what Bill Clinton or Newt Gingrich tell people. When they said that oral sex is not sex, they said it in order to keep their jobs. Oral sex IS sex. It involves sexual gratification with another person, therefore it does qualify as sex.

Those little nuggets of information need to be incorporated into the rest of our teaching our young and not-quite adult population about the birds and the bees. Oral sex is still just as risky as any other traditional (and not-so traditional) forms of sexual intercourse, only without pregnancy. Those risks can be cut down by the use of protection. Make use of it.

You know, all of these problems we have with sex are the result of our own dysfunction over the issue. American culture is obsessed with sex only because we’ve been lied to and told by moralists and religious figures that it is wrong. Those bible-thumpers and moralists are the true source of our dysfunction.. and until we shake their influence off of society, we will never be free of those problems.

The young generation takes their lead from their predecessors and from the generations before them. Our dysfunction become their dysfunction. Our hypocrisy becomes their hypocrisy. If we want the next generation to learn from the lessons of our mistakes concerning sex, then we have to get rid of our social and sexual hang-ups first.

Let’s stop sticking our head in the sand.. or in this case in the laps of our partners.. and deal with ourselves AS sexual creatures. That is the only way we can move on from there to being RESPONSIBLE sexual creatures, and showing the next generation by example how to behave.

Monday, November 20, 2000

Week of 11/20/2000

Hail To The Thieves
- by David Matthews 2

For the past few years, I’ve been warning people… both online and in the real word… that it really wouldn’t matter if either the Republican candidate or the Democratic one would win the election, America would be screwed. And especially this year -- where we have two bland, nepotistic candidates whose only difference would be akin to trying to differentiate between red and black ants -- I have warned people that this country is screwed no matter if it’s George Bush or Al Gore who wins the election.

Not only have they delighted me in proving me right, but they’ve done it in such a grand fashion.

Not to mention they’ve done it very quickly. One would’ve expected people to feel that they’ve been screwed over after either one of these two were already sworn into office. The same kind of screwed-over feeling America felt in 1990 when President George H. Bush reneged on his "no new taxes" pledge, and again in 1993 by President Bill Clinton following his pledge to only "tax the rich."

Matter of fact, Clinton has done plenty of "screwing-over" with the American public.. they just won’t know how badly until after ol’ Narcissus Rex has left the Oval Office. But I digress.

Indeed, the election hasn’t even been over yet, and people are feeling screwed-over by parties loyal to Al Gore and George W. Bush. The vast pizza-eating, beer-drinking populace did their jobs.. they went to the ballot box, they picked a candidate, and then they went home and waited to hear who won.

And they waited…

And they waited…

And they waited…

Come the morning after, there still wasn’t a winner.

Days have turned into almost two weeks, and STILL there hasn’t been a winner.

Instead, we’ve heard talking heads rail on recklessly about whether a "chad" was "dimpled", "pregnant", or "hanging." We’ve seen people whining and moaning about "confusing ballots" and recounts and hand recounts. We’re seeing the two parties raise vast sums of money and waging a continual PR campaign as if the elections never happened. We’ve seen lawyers and judges getting involved over election law and ballots and subverting government officials from doing their jobs. And we’re hearing those two pampered, spoiled, nepotistic career politicians talk endlessly about what is "fair" and what is "the will of the people."

Well, I hate to break it to Bush and Gore, but right now the will of the American people rests with four little words that someone should have told these two chowderheads a long time ago:


Let’s get brutally honest here… it doesn’t matter how this election fiasco in Florida ends, people are going to feel screwed over by the whole process. They’re going to feel that one candidate had stolen the election from the other.

This whole process has been made even worse when the candidates brought in the lawyers. And lawyers are pouring into the state of Florida by the limousines! Or should that be by the ambulance? The Democrats sent out a flare, and the American Trial Lawyers Association (the biggest political contributors that party has) heeded the call. Al Gore has even brought in anti-Microsoft lawyer David Boles and Alan Dershowitz, the man who got Klaus Von Bulow off of death row. I’m half expecting the rest of the OJ Simpson defense team to start showing up, with Johnnie Cochraine proclaiming "if the chad’s been pushed, then it don’t go to Bush!"

Some people in the media say that the lawyers are actually just making sure the process is followed according to the letter and the intent of the law. Uh-huh.. yeah, sure. Mind you, these are the same people who swear up and down a stack of bibles that Bill Clinton never had sex with "that woman", that Al Gore really did invent the Internet, and that somehow George and Jeb Bush became governors through their own achievements and not because of their father.

Can you say "credibility gap" boys and girls? Sure, I knew you could.

And let’s think about this for a second.. has anyone in Florida challenged the reliability of the objective, impartial, counting machines that counted the ballots there the first two times? I have yet to hear anyone do that. You keep on hearing the talking heads rant on and on about wanting a "fair and accurate count".. but nobody’s questioned the machines that are designed to do just that! Instead, we are hearing about Democrats wanting fallible, subjective, partisan human beings counting ballots, and Republicans claiming that the count is being manipulated because of those same fallible, subjective, partisan human beings.

Bear in mind that it really doesn’t matter to me WHO wins the Florida election, and consequentially the electoral college. Both of the dominant parties are equally undeserving in my opinion, and some of the reasons why are coming out here and now in Florida.

This is some bitter news for people to swallow, but it is the responsibility of the VOTERS to make sure their votes count. First by getting to the voting booths, then by making sure they follow the instructions in voting and making sure they picked the candidate they’ve selected. That’s it! If the voter can’t figure those things out, then their vote is discounted. It’s not up for some election committee to "guess" how you "wanted" to vote, and anyone who seriously thinks that should be their job needs to have their head examined… preferably with a blender.

Let’s face it.. George Bush and Al Gore have both stolen this election from the American people. Election day was supposed to be the one day that Joe and Jane Six-pack get to have their say. Not lawyers, not special interest groups, and certainly not the political hired guns talking about whether or not the people were "confused" by ballots. Joe and Jane Six-pack have had their day stolen from them first by Al Gore, and then by George Bush, in this endless string of lawsuits and allegations of ballot manipulation.

Unfortunately, there is very little we the people can do to stop this theft from continuing. It is a product of our own foolishness. We were the ones who bought into the myth that it was either Bush or Gore. We were sold on the Big Lie, and now we have to pay the price for choosing either of those two whiners.

And get used to it people, because no matter which bunch of thieves win the White House, we will have to put up with these kinds of antics for the next four years!

The screwing has only just begun!

Monday, November 13, 2000

Week of 11/13/2000

Getting the Government You Deserve in 2000
- by David Matthews 2

Boy, oh boy, what a way to wrap up the election season, huh?

Here we are, about one week removed from all of the garbage that we have to put up with every two to four years, and we STILL don’t know who’s going to replace King Bill the First come January!

Al Gore claims to have won the election. George W. Bush claims to have won the election. Gore claims that Bush stole the electoral college. Bush claims that Gore is a sore loser. We have people throwing screaming fits in front of cameras about recounts and re-votes and mythical third-party spoilers.

It’s insane. It’s really insane.

But perhaps it’s to be expected. After all, we’re talking about two spoiled, pampered, career politicians who have gotten where they were through the success of their respective fathers. Politicians who firmly believed that government can solve all problems, and constantly talk about their respective pet pork programs as the solutions to all of society’s ills. They act like a bunch of children promising cake and candy to the neighborhood kids. Why should it be any different when the vote isn’t decisively their way?

So for those international watchers out there.. or those Americans who are wondering just where the STOP button is on this crazy ride, let’s get a few things squared away.

First of all, despite the fact that voter attendance was high in many areas across America, only 60% of registered voters actually got off their duffs and made it to the voting booths. That’s far better than the 49% who voted in 1996, but still pretty pathetic. As this commentator predicted, the non-vote STILL was a factor in this election.

Second, despite all of the talk about Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan, Harry Browne, and other third-party candidates as spoilers, they did NOT serve as such. The most any of those three garnered was three percent of the popular vote. They served as true votes of conscience, true votes of protest, true votes of principle, but they did NOT serve as the spoiler vote.

If Gore and Bush supporters were really and truly serious about getting the vote out, they shouldn’t be mad at the five percent of people who voted their conscience and their principles. They should be mad at the forty percent of registered voters who stayed at home and didn’t exercise their constitutional duty.

As such, the forty percent who didn’t vote have no basis to complain. Period. They can complain all they like, and the Constitution guarantees them that right, but unless they can say "I Voted", they’re no better than the mealy-mouthed double-speaking politicians we all despise.

And indeed, that forty percent could have changed the face of politics. This presidential election was so close in many states that even a handful of those non-voters could have tipped the scales one way or the other.

That brings us to the close election.

Right now, all eyes are on Florida. Florida has 25 electoral votes, and whomever gets those 25 wins the election. The difference between the two was close.. really close. The media thought it first went to Gore, then it went to Bush, then it was too close to call. So by state law, a recount was required. And when that was done, the difference was even closer, but Bush still had edged out over Gore.

But Gore didn’t like that. So now some counties are recounting votes yet again.. by hand!

But still that’s not good enough for the Gore supporters. They’re claiming voter fraud in Florida. 19,000 ballots had to be thrown out because voters double-punched their ballots. Excuse me, folks, but what was it about the instructions did you NOT understand? Did you or did you NOT read the part about if you make a mistake you can request another ballot? It doesn’t take an act of Congress. I saw someone get a new ballot right in front of me because he did his wrong. It happens.

So 19,000 ballots were tossed out. Too bad. 36,000 ballots were tossed out in 1996 and nobody complained. Hundreds of voters in Georgia wanted to vote this year but couldn’t because the State Secretary disqualified their registration forms with very little media attention and absolutely no notice to the individuals who thought they were registered to vote. Do you hear any calls for Congressional action here? No.

Meanwhile, you have spoiled Democrats crying foul all over the state of Florida. They claim that the butterfly-style ballots were too "confusing." That ballot layout was approved of by both the Democrats and the Republicans. They were printed in newspapers all over the county so people wouldn’t be surprised by the layout when they get to the polls. Hey, if schoolchildren in the area could understand the ballots, why couldn’t adults?

And how about all of those whining, moaning, crying protesters demanding a "re-vote"? Please! Cry me a freakin’ river! These people are the epitome of the word PATHETIC!

You want a re-vote? How about all of the other counties and states that came close. You think they should have a re-vote too? After all, they may have picked the wrong candidate as well. Let’s give them a chance to re-vote. Gotta be fair, right? And while we’re at it, I’m sure that there were some other folks who were a bit confused by their ballots as well. How about giving them a chance to re-vote?

Tell you what.. while we’re at it, why not just invalidate the WHOLE election and have everyone vote again? How about that? Will that make you happy? Or will you only be happy if Al Gore wins?

You know, come to think of it.. I’m not too sure that I crossed off the right numbers in last night’s bingo game. All of those numbers so tightly together.. it was very confusing for me. I think I should have a replay! After all, we gotta be fair, right?

Come on people! Voting is not like playing "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" There is no Regis Philben asking you if that was your final answer. This is a one-shot deal here. Bring your reading glasses. Read the instructions. Re-read them if you still don’t get it. If you’re not sure about your selection, don’t pull that final lever, don’t "X" that check mark, and for God’s sake, don’t push in that stupid slot twice!

Let’s get brutally honest here… As the heir apparent to the Bill Clinton regime, this election has been Al Gore’s to lose. The political deck was already stacked in his favor. Thanks to the party bosses, the not-so-unbiased members of the media, and the two-party monopoly, people were led to believe that the only alternative to Gore was a bumbling Texas governor who looked like he was still trying to find his own dorm room. If Al Gore could not earn enough votes even to win his own state of Tennessee, then should he fail to win the election, he has nobody to blame but himself. Period. Case closed.

And how about the biggest whiner for the Gore camp, Bill Daley? Does the name Richard Daley of the Chicago political machine ring any bells? How about this quote: "Vote early, vote often"? If anyone should know about voter fraud, it would be the son of the man who reportedly once got the dead to vote for John Kennedy.

Media talking heads are marveling how the election results are generating more interest than the whole campaign itself. That is no surprise, really. For too many years, voters have felt that their votes really didn’t matter. They felt ignored. They felt disconnected from the system. They felt that special interests owned the election and dictated who won or who lost. Now they’re finding out that a handful of individual votes could spell the difference between who won and who lost. Of course they’re going to be interested! This would be the first time in years that they will actually feel that they were involved in the process!

People are complaining that it’s not fair that one person could win the popular vote, and another would be elected president. Well, sorry Charlie, but that’s how this system was set up. Our founding fathers did NOT create a democracy, they created a democracy in a REPUBLIC. Check with Benjamin Franklin when asked what the founding fathers had created. He said, quote, "A republic, if you can keep it."

Our founding fathers knew that the emotions of the people are fleeting and temporary, easily swayed by whatever huckster could peddle their wares. Government is neither fleeting nor temporary. That’s why special interest groups try to generate false hysteria to get laws passed. And that’s why there are provisions in the Constitution to curtail such laws from wrongfully infringing on the rights of the individual.

This government was set up with a system of checks and balances. A House of Representatives elected by the people. A Senate that was originally comprised of those appointed by the state governors. A Supreme Court filled by those picked by the President, but approved of by the Senate. And a President who was elected, not by the people, but by those elected representatives of the people.

Oh, you didn’t know you don’t directly elect the President? Well, you’re finding that out the hard way, aren’t you? Time to wake up and dust off those high school civics books, boys and girls.

The electoral college serves as yet another check-and-balance measure. Call it a waiting period for the highest office in the land. I’m sure all you anti-gun advocates and all you anti-abortion supporters can appreciate the notion of a waiting period, right? This is probably the only waiting period measure that I actually support.

People who fear the abolition of the electoral college say that it would open the door to third parties and coalition governments. Hey, go back to your history books and read up on how Abraham Lincoln got elected. You think that electoral college was a cakewalk back in 1860?

You want the system fixed? You think it should be more reflective of the popular vote? Okay, how about getting rid of the "winner-take-all" system of electoral delegates? Each state gets 10 delegates. If George Bush gets half the vote in that state, he gets half the delegates. If Al Gore gets 40% of the vote, he gets 4 delegates. If third parties get less than 10%, they don’t get a delegate. Simple, easy, and proportionate. Plus, there wouldn’t be any of this garbage of campaigning heavily in certain states and ignoring others.

While we’re at it, I should get a word in about how the media was playing this whole election night debacle. I have a real problem with how the media likes to predict winners based on projections and exit polling. They got caught with their pants down in Florida, not just once, but twice.. and this practice only served in building up people’s expectations and then letting them down. Heck, Al Gore was ready to concede the election simply because the media declared Bush the winner even before most of the votes were in.

Dan Rather of CBS was perhaps the biggest drama queen in this. When CBS had to pull Florida out of the Gore column, he kept on declaring it to be because of "faulty data", even going so far as to call it "suspect data." Yeah Dan, like Tom Cruise and his Mission Impossible team came in an sabotaged your computers. Rather had it right the first time when it was called "faulty data". The fault was on their over-reliance on exit polls and their so-called "need" to be the first to declare a winner from state to state.

Short of banning exit pollsters from hanging around election areas like they do for campaigning, the only real way for journalists to stop relying on this kind of reckless reporting of the news would be if everyone who participated in them lied to the pollsters. After all, lying to pollsters is not a crime.. at least not yet. Personally I think that would be hilarious! It would be so comical to see these air-fluffed personalities try to explain how their predictions would be so utterly wrong. Too bad it would only work once.

However, like it or not, we are getting exactly the kind of government we deserve. If you were one of the forty percent who stayed at home, then you’re going to have to deal with the fact that you blew your chance to shape the election. Next time be at the polls!

If you were one of those folks who felt that they had to compromise and surrender their vote on the misguided belief that either Bush or Gore were somehow "the lesser evil", you’re going to have to live with the fact that your principles don’t mean squat anymore, especially if you sacrificed them for a candidate who didn’t win. And maybe that explains why people are so touchy about this election.

But, if you’re like me, and you voted your conscience, and voted according to whomever you wanted to see in office, then you have nothing to be ashamed about. You did your job and anyone who has a problem with that really should seek therapy before they start showing up in bell towers with large caliber firearms. You can do what I am doing, which is sitting back, watching this two-ring political circus continue on with their respective clown acts, marvel at it all.. and laugh as the two sides continue to self-destruct.

Monday, November 6, 2000

Week of 11/06/2000

The Dirtiest Player in the Game
- by David Matthews 2

In the world of professional wrestling, one man is known as "The Dirtiest Player in the Game." That man is the legendary "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.

Flair was the shining example of the glamour of professional wrestling. The robes, the gold, the limousines, the women, the perfectly coifed platinum-white hair, the expensive clothes. Everything about him exuded success. But Flair the wrestler was also arrogant, cocky, sneaky, the master of mind games, and willing to use every underhanded trick imaginable to get the win.

Until recently, it was hard to try to find the political equivalent to the "Nature Boy." Politicians don’t like to be seen as arrogant, put-offish, or cocky. They want to be seen as the "babyfaces", the good guys who have to fight hard and play by the rules in order to win.

I suppose the closest you could’ve come to having a "dirty player" in politics would be the late Richard Nixon. Nixon’s political career had always held an element of duplicity. End Vietnam, yet bomb Cambodia. Support the Constitution, yet try to circumvent it. Support free markets, yet order a one-year freeze in the marketplace that would take years to resolve.

But Nixon knew how to accept defeat. When he knew that the Congress was ready to impeach him for his abuses of power, he resigned. He chose the honorable way out, and eventually history forgave him.

Until now, nobody could come close to being a "dirty player" in politics as Nixon was.

"Nature Boy" Ric Flair, meet President Bill Clinton.

Like Flair, Clinton exudes all of the glamour of politics. The big-money fundraisers, the trips on Air Force One, the high-profile travel junkets. Clinton has even let his perfectly coifed hair turn white, just like the "Nature Boy." Now some might say that Clinton likes to be a "common man," but that really doesn’t seem to cut it for him. He is only about as much a "common man" as King Henry V was when he would disguise himself to visit his troops before a battle.

But with Clinton there is also that dark side of politics that seems to follow him about like a shadow. The deceitfulness, the lies, the underhanded tricks, the mind games that are played so subtly that you don’t even know you’ve been played for a fool until after it has happened.

Accuse Clinton of some wrongdoing, and you could face an audit by the Internal Revenue Service. Just about every Clinton accuser and critic has at one point or another been audited by the IRS. Nobody would ever say why they are being audited, but they would quickly dismiss any idea that the White House had anything to do with it. Documents would mysteriously disappear. Dark secrets about people’s lives would be dug up and revealed.

Of course, Clinton would never admit to such dirty tricks. Like any other politician, Clinton wants to be seen as a "babyface", a self-professed savior and champion of the "common man." But try as he might, those dirty tricks would follow him about like a puppy.

Case in point, the presidential campaign of his heir apparent, Al Gore.

Try as he might, Al Gore cannot shake off the stigma that is Bill Clinton off his campaign. He kept on claiming he was "his own man," but quite often he would point to those years of serving as the prince to King Bill the first, waiting patiently for what he would consider to be "his turn" to take over the castle at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

So as Election Day came closer, Gore was perplexed. He was not considered to be the overall winner, despite reinventing himself over and over again. Worse yet, he was considered to be running neck-and-neck with a man who seemed to be bumbling his way through the campaign - Texas Governor George W. Bush.

And so it came to be that Al Gore got some "help" from his mentor, King Bill.

Most people would know that Clinton would briefly "stump" for Gore, campaigning for him and claiming that a Gore regime would be considered the closest thing Clinton could have to a third term. Not really original when you think about it. In fact, that’s how Bush’s father became president in 1988, as the successor to President Ronald Reagan’s two terms in office.

So Big Bubba Spin would make his pitch, do his brief "stumping" for Gore, and then go back to the White House so he can once again try to rebuild what he calls his "legacy." Al "My Own Man" Gore became Al "Clinton II" Gore, and that seemed to appease the pundits.

But then something strange happened…

Not too long after Clinton "returned" to his kingly duties, a skeleton popped out of George W’s closet.

This skeleton was a guilty plea for Driving Under Intoxication in Maine. Now today that would be considered a felony, but this was in 1976, when such an offense was treated no better than speeding. Bush was given a ticket, he went to traffic court, pled guilty, paid the fine, lost his drivers license for a month, and that was that. No big deal back then. In fact, Bush would later say that the incident was one of the reasons why he gave up drinking.

Now let’s get brutally honest here.. in terms of bombshells, this scandal was nothing more than a fizzled firecracker. A DUI in 1976 wasn’t as consequential an offense as, say, raping a woman.. like a certain former attorney general for Arkansas was alleged to have done in the 1980’s. Bush didn’t try to fight the charge. He didn’t try to use his father’s influence to get the matter swept away. He didn’t even plead nolo to the charge, which he was more than entitled to do back then. No, he didn’t do those things. He pled guilty and accepted the punishment of the court.

And when confronted by this skeleton, Bush admitted to it! He didn’t try to lie about it. He didn’t try to deny it ever happened. He just didn’t come forward with it. That was his only crime.

Yeah, like Da Big W would come waltzing into the campaign race like Clint Eastwood in "Heartbreak Ridge" and tell everyone "My name is Texas Governor George W. Bush, and I’ve snorted more coke and drank more beer and executed more pond-scum-sucking criminals than all you numbnuts put together!" Yeah, that goes along just fine and dandy with Joe and Jane Six-Pack.

And so the question has to be raised.. is this dirty politics or just really bad timing for the Republicans?

Well if you ask the Republicans, they’ll tell you there is no doubt that it’s dirty politics. The suspect who leaked the information to the press was a Gore delegate to the Democratic Convention this past August. And Gore, of course, has everything to gain by staining Bush just days before the election.

Gore’s people, of course, deny ever being involved in the whole sordid mess. The suspect, Tom Connolly, claimed he acted alone, and that the Gore camp didn’t know anything about it.

Mind you, it’s very easy to simply blame Gore and his people for this. Gore, after all, is known to have "stretched" the truth here and there. What’s one more "exaggeration", huh?

Well, nothing.. except the real suspect may have been forgotten in all of this.

I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but doesn’t it seem too coincidental that George W’s DUI skeleton should suddenly pop up not too long after President Clinton started campaigning for Al Gore?

This is, after all, a standard Clinton tactic. Find old dirt on your competitor and exploit it just days before a crucial vote. Just ask Congressman Dan "The President is a scumbag" Burton. You think he wanted folks to know he once upon a time sired an illegitimate bambino? Or how about former Congressman Bob Livingston? As the man who would’ve replaced Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House, Livingston instead announced his resignation just prior to the House vote to impeach Clinton when it was going to be revealed that HE had also cheated on his wife in the past. It worked to keep Clinton in office, then. Why not use it to put his successor in office?

If it’s motive you’re looking for, then what better motive would there be but to sustain Clinton’s so-called track record? Two terms as president, followed by a term by his successor. Some would consider that to be a successful regime. As an added bonus, he would be able to deprive George Bush senior his bit of payback for the 1992 election.

If Clinton is the true mastermind behind the DUI leak, and this commentator would not be surprised if that is so, then certainly he would be considered without a doubt the dirtiest player in the game! A man willing to do anything and everything within his means to succeed, no matter whose lives are destroyed in the process. Tom Connolly would simply be yet another name lost in the Clinton machine along with dozens of victims, accomplices, associates, and fall-guys who pay for price those who refuse to be held accountable to anyone.

Sadly, if Clinton really is the mastermind behind it, he would never be implicated, because there would be no proof. The principal players would make sure that they would take the fall for whomever was the mastermind behind it. All that would be left would be idle speculation, and in an election season, even that would be quickly forgotten. Maybe that has become the nature of politics, but that does not excuse the ones who utilize such tactics, no matter which political affiliation they are with.

All the more reason to be thankful that Clinton’s reign as a self-styled king would be over come January. It is only a pity that the front-running choices for his successor are no better.